One of the new kids on the block, Pirate Life Brewing is making a pretty big stir in the craft beer scene. In this year’s GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers Award, Pirate Life took out 3rd, 4th and 11th. A huge achievement given that they only launched their first beer in early 2015.
As seems to be the way with these craft beer breweries, Pirate Life has a great story behind it. Although Australian born and bred, co-founders Jack Cameron and Jared “Red” Proudfoot first met in Scotland. They were quick to form a close bond. They lived, studied and drank together. Moreover, they honed their brewing skills together through apprenticeships for UK craft beer behemoth BrewDog before starting up Pirate Life back in Adelaide, Australia.
They have a started with a core range of three beers; a Pale Ale, a Throwback IPA and the protagonist of our story today – the IIPA (Imperial India Pale Ale). Long time admirers of the fabled tinny, Jack and Red are committed to distributing their beer in can-form only.
Although often lampooned, cans are logistically the better option. They eliminate the two biggest problems in keeping beer fresh – air and sunlight. Moreover, they get colder quicker, are lighter and much cheaper. Long live the tinny.
The first crack of the can releases a deeply fruity aroma. The first pour oozes a nice caramel colour. The first sip reveals a very loud assortment of your favourite flavours. You’ll notice a combination of citrus and tropical fruits (i.e. mandarin), combined with creamy caramel undertones. To top it all off there’s a garnish of liquorice and pine.
Yes there is a lingering bitterness that may offend some. But do not fear, this bitterness is the product of the IIPA’s hops, which is necessary to balance out the sweetness from the huge amount of malt packed into the can. Cheers for that hops, I like having an intact tongue.
The IIPA is a big beer. A very big beer. Big on flavour (see above), big on size (the beer comes in a 500ml can) and big on booze content (8.8.% of said can is comprised of the good stuff). The result? A right hook, with every sip of the beer. Beware of the session gents, beware of the session.
Due to the beers heaviness I’m inclined to categorise it as more of a flavour experience rather than a sessionable bevvie. However, despite all this, it’s ultimately a very drinkable drink. Stay present with the beer and enjoy every sip.